10 years ago, a marketing company decided to make a mobile game. They’d just made a “hot or not” widget for MySpace, and wanted to branch out to capture the mobile market.
The company rebranded as Machine Zone.
So, the company hired a small army of behavioral psychologists & marketing experts to help craft a game with the highest possible profits & player retention at a low operating cost to MZ.
The result was Game of War.
BUT. The pay-to-play progression & blatant player financial exploitation was an act of malevolent brilliance.
The game used innovative (for its time) translation, allowing players from any country to chat & have their words auto-translated.
It heavily rewarded “loyalty” players who publicly defended its payment practices.
With how bad I’m making it sound, how effective do you think this game was at “player retention”?
Well, though big spenders hadn't given up on Game of War nearly a decade later, Machine Zone decided to move resources over to a new partnership.
With Square Enix.
And the cycle started again. Players were dumping thousands of dollars per month into this game.
I don't think it's alarmist to follow the progression of where this leads.
I rant about lootboxes a lot, but since the issue is complex (you need to know the history), it's hard for many to get *why* the microtransaction trend is worrying, and that there are legit concerns about #DIablo Immortal.
To a low-res mobile game.
Now tell me that MZ’s exploitive & aggressive monetization strategies won’t appeal to other companies.
I'm not going to talk about my personal interactions w/MZ at this time. Suffice it to say that I had enough experience w/profit generating tactics used in mobile gaming to make me VERY cautious about any franchise that moves over to mobile. #diabloimmortal